Blog: What's special about our middle school?

Below are selected entries from Middle School Insight - our weekly blogs used for communication with our parents.


We perform Shakespeare!

I am nervous and uncomfortable. I do not know what to expect. I don't want to fail. I don't want to look foolish.

I feel certain that is how many 6th and 7th graders feel when they walk into Performing Arts class on the first day of the quarter. The discomfort may be excitement and it may be fear. It might even be dread for students who wrestle with stage fright.

Even after months of reading, watching and preparing for our Shakespeare workshops, I felt overwhelmed with emotions on the first day. The kids and I are working together to accomplish a huge goal. The goal is bigger than understanding Shakespeare's language or the difficult story.

I have challenged the students to commit to approaching our short performance of a few scenes from Macbeth, on Oct. 25, as an opportunity to hold everyone's attention for the entire thirty minutes!

As soon as I say it, many students know how hard that is. Parents, teachers, and classmates have many distractions in their lives! Our audience will want to look at their phones or decide what to do next with their evening or worry about something that must be done the next day or something that happened yesterday. How can we keep everyone's attention?

We have started with some really good building material, a classic story of ambition gone wrong. We will use the creative instincts of everyone in class. We will make strong choices together and rehearse and practice as much as we have time for.

Yes, we will memorize Shakespeare—but not too much!

You can expect students to bring home their script and start learning lines in the next couple weeks. This work will continue right up to the showcase.

Above: a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream - last year's Shakespeare selection.

I'll come in extra during the week of showcase to provide small group and individual coaching sessions. Please put Thursday, Oct. 25, 6:30 pm, on your calendar.

By Amy Chesser, Performing Arts

Posted by Kristin Feddersen in the arts on Thursday September, 6, 2018

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Countryside School
4301 W. Kirby Ave. Champaign, IL 61822
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